Juniper and the Dolomite mountains
A green cloak covers meadows and rocks, as though juniper wants to protect the mountain from hikers lacking manners. Its sharp leaves bloom in spring and yield berries boasting beneficial properties. The anaesthetic and healing properties of these black and light blue fruits have been known since time immemorial. When the juniper decides not to bloom as a tree, it intertwines with others of its kind with passionate abandon. Juniper may seem like a stubborn plant, and yet it is delicate – maybe it is because it was blessed by the Virgin Mary who found refuge among the plants when fleeing towards Egypt with her son Jesus and her husband Joseph. The juniper takes centre stage in many stories and legends because farmers, once upon a time, thought it kept evil spirits away. Its branches can be found hanging from the frame of barns to protect the cattle’s health. Its wood is used to make cooking utensils, its heady aroma infused in all dishes, such as the wooden spoon used to mix polenta dough. Juniper is home to animals and some birds like being pricked by its thin and hard leaves. You can find it in the Mediterranean area and below the Dolomites, and that is why we love juniper. This plant and its prickly nature cover the rocky walls as you climb towards the highest mountain peaks – it always is a sight to behold.